Well….back from my two month vacation!! Ok, yeah…..that’s a lie. Somehow, “back from my stressing over exams, the holidays, my weight loss failures, my job, and the kiddos” just seemed way less glamorous. However, since we are all friends here…we will stick with the truth. Back from my two months of wanting to bury my head in the sand and WISHING I was on a two month vacation!!
I would ask how your holiday was…er..well, holidays now…but that just seems way inappropriate in this first week of February. No worries….next year, January 2nd, I am asking you. So…be prepared.
New year…rejuvenated me….determined to reach goals instead of wishing for them…be the best you that you can be. (Anyone else hum that “in the army” tune after that like I did? No? Damn.) In the quest of becoming a better me, I decided to take a look at achieving my Heath goals. A couple of years ago I tried the whole veganism thing. For about 6 months I was really diligent in maintaining a vegan diet ….until the holidays when all caution (along with my will-power) was thrown out the window. Sad thing was,I honestly felt really good during those six months. Did I return to veganism after the holidays? Of course not..I mean why break my habit of “already blew my eating plan so why fix it now”? However..new year. So, round two it is.
Does this mean that “The Boiled Noodle” will now be a vegan blog? Noooo….I have three very happy omnivores in my house who would tie me up and lock me in a closet if I did not feed them meat and often. It does mean that there definitely will be some very delicious vegan meals included in the recipe arsenal…and after all…even if you only eat vegan 70% of the week….you still reap the benefits.
Enough babble….back to why you really come here…food. Completely vegan..completely delicious…there is no missing the meat in this dish. If you have ever had Caponata ( if not, go get some now..I will wait), you have experienced the magic which occurs when you combine eggplant, carrots, olives, onions, and the glorious caper. The combination of sweet and sour makes for an irresistible dish that would satisfy even the most carnivorous of appetites. Caponata itself is magnificent when served alongside a plate of crisp crostini; take those same basic ingredients and use it to cost a hearty whole grain pasta?? Heavenly. Pasta “kinda” Caponata. Yum.
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1 Can Diced Tomatoes, 15 oz
- 1 Can Tomato Sauce, 8 oz
- 1/2 Medium Onion, ddiced
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Dried Basil
- 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- S&P to taste
- FOR THE EGGPLANT MIXTURE:
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Carrots, diced
- 1/2 Medium Onion, diced
- 3 Cups Eggplant, diced (about half of large eggplant)
- 4 Tbsp Capers, with juice (or more if like me!!)
- 1 Cup Black Olives, roughly chopped
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- 1/2 lb. Pasta, penne is a good one :)
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients for the sauce.
- Bring to a slow boil, stir well, and then simmer, covered for about 20 minutes while preparing the pasta and veg.
- Begin boiling water for pasta and when ready cook pasta according to package directions.
- In a deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add carrots and onions and saute until caramelization begins to occur...that beautiful golden color:)
- Stir in 3 cups of eggplant. You may need to add a little more olive oil as eggplants are like little sponges.
- Continue to cook together over medium heat until eggplant begins to take on color.
- Add in the minced garlic and cook for additional minute.
- Add tomato sauce to pan and stir to combine.
- Reduce heat to low and add olives, capers, and crushed red pepper. May add some salt and pepper here if you wish.
- Simmer covered for additional 5-7 minutes for flavors to combine.
- Add drained pasta to skillet and toss to coat each noodle with this deliciousness!!